Housing-First Initiatives

The Housing First initiative

What is housing First initiative?

Why Housing First?

The Housing First program is centered in the belief that every person deserves equal opportunity and access to housing. Our Housing Counselors (case managers) provide supportive housing assistance for individuals and families who are currently experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

In line with the Housing First model, HRDC’s Housing First program views housing as the foundation for life improvement and enables access to permanent housing without prerequisites or conditions beyond those of a typical renter. Supportive services are offered to support people with housing stability and individual well-being, but participation is not required as services have been found to be more effective when a person chooses to engage.

HRDC’s Housing First currently includes 5 types of services: Homeless Prevention, Rapid Rehousing, Transitional Housing, SOAR, Housing Counseling/Supportive Services

Homeless Prevention

The Homeless Prevention service provides time-limited emergency rental assistance to eligible households in efforts to assist them in maintaining housing stability. Eligible households may be able to receive assistance in paying past due rent and/or next month’s rent.

Eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Have an initial consultation with a case manager or other representative who can determine the appropriate type/level of assistance
  • Total gross household income is at or below 30% of the Area Median Income for their respective county
  • Be at-risk of losing housing and lacking subsequent housing options and financial resources needed to obtain immediate housing or remain in existing housing.

Rapid Rehousing

Rapid Rehousing provides flexible assistance to individuals and families experiencing homeless situations such as staying in shelter, outside, or in places not meant for habitation such as vehicles and campers. Utilizing a robust and client-focused approach to case management, Rapid Rehousing customers receive outreach and engagement, financial coaching and employment support, long term housing support, wellness and stabilization planning, progressive engagement, and resource navigation through the myriad of services available in our community. Eligible households may also receive assistance in the form of security deposits and rental assistance depending on the household’s need, funding availability, and tiered prioritization identified in the Coordinated Entry System process.

Transitional Housing

Carriage House provides up to one year of transitional housing for eligible individuals experiencing homelessness. During their tenancy, participants actively engage in intensive case management services, including budgeting, housing search assistance, life-skills coaching and the development of overall self-sufficiency. Participants pay 30% of their income towards rent. Carriage House is intended to be a launch pad from homelessness and into permanent housing.


Our Housing First Counselors are trained in SSI/SSDI, Outreach, Advocacy, and Recovery (SOAR). Households experiencing homelessness work with their SOAR case manager to apply for social security benefits. The SOAR case manager acts as the advocate and liaison between the client and the Social Security Office.

Supportive Services

Our Housing First counselors are HUD-Certified to provide Housing Counseling to assist households in being able to obtain AND maintain their housing. Staff provide outreach to meet customers where they’re at on the streets, parks, library, emergency shelter, and with community partners.

Supportive Services range from outreach, case management, housing counseling, and linkages to community partners.

Housing Counselors provide supportive services to not only aid customers in obtaining housing, but in maintaining housing as well.

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Brooke Poole

Public Sector

Since 2015, Brooke has been working with Allergan Aesthetics, Body Contouring. In 2018, Brooke began her role as Senior Manager of Training. Brooke graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Commercial Photography from Appalachian State University in 2011.

Brooke began her role on our Board in 2019. However, she feels it’s more fitting to say that she gets to serve on our Board. For Brooke, an evening at our Fork & Spoon was her first glance into our organization’s powerful work. As Brooke states, joining the Board has only expanded her appreciation for the caliber of people leading our mission and the impact of our vast ecosystem of services. While metrics alone are impressive, Brooke likes to visualize each number as an individual example of support – an extension of a helping hand, a moment of relief – given to one of our neighbors. She is grateful for the opportunity to participate in shaping HRDC’s future.

Although Brooke spends most of her volunteer time with HRDC, she was fortunate enough to build with Habitat for Humanity over the course of the summer in 2020. Her favorite place to spend time is anywhere under the Big Sky, although Hyalite may be her favorite place on Earth.

Ron Brey

Public Sector

Ron served as Bozeman’s Assistant City Manager from 1990 to 2008. After retiring, Ron joined our Board in 2011. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Montana in 1977, and his Masters in Science in Rural, Town, and Regional Planning from the University of Montana in 1987.

During his time with the City of Bozeman, Ron saw the important role that HRDC has played in our community. Ron has seen that HRDC provides necessary social services to assure that all Bozeman residents could obtain housing, food, training, employment and the other necessities of life. He also came to understand that HRDC was always able to respond immediately as new community needs arose. Ron believes that the dedication, hard work, and compassion of HRDC’s staff make it a real honor to serve on the Board.

Ron also serves on the Trails, Open Space and Parks Committee for the City of Bozeman, and as a volunteer with the Red Cross. One of Ron’s favorite activities is walking his beloved dog every day, enjoying many of Bozeman’s trails and parks, like Burke Park, Bozeman Creek, and the Hyalite and Mount Ellis areas. Ron and his wife Claire enjoy spending their days with family, friends, and time outdoors.